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Guggenheim executive departs after internal discord

Alexandra Court, who was at the center of an internal rift at Guggenheim Partners, said she left the firm in April, closing a controversial chapter at the money manager and boutique investment bank.

Court was promoted to global head of institutional distribution in April 2016, a move accompanied by about two dozen job cuts in that department that in part sparked tensions between CEO Mark Walter and CIO Scott Minerd, Bloomberg has reported.

She went on sabbatical last June and hired Martin Singer, a Los Angeles attorney who has represented celebrities, to negotiate a severance deal with the firm that managed about $305 billion in assets as of March 31.

Court announced her departure on her new personal website as well as on her LinkedIn profile, which said she left Guggenheim in April. She didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

“We are grateful for Ms. Court’s leadership and contributions to Guggenheim and the company wishes her continued great successes in all her future endeavors,” Michael Sitrick, an outside spokesman for Guggenheim, said in an emailed statement. He declined to answer questions. Court’s name still appeared as an executive on Guggenheim’s website on Thursday.

In July, Guggenheim appointed Jerry Miller as president of the firm’s asset management arm to help broker peace between factions. No fewer than 60 bankers, traders and analysts had departed over the last two years as top executives feuded over the CEO’s outside investments and the direction of the firm, Bloomberg reported in October 2017.

As part of the firm’s effort to retain employees, Guggenheim agreed to pay $30 million last year to Anne Walsh, CIO for fixed income, resolving a dispute in which she accused Walter of favoritism, Bloomberg reported on May 24.

Guggenheim has denied that Court was promoted because of a personal relationship with the CEO.

“There is no non-business relationship,” Sitrick said in a statement last year. “But if there were, it was fully and promptly disclosed to the appropriate parties at Guggenheim, in accordance with established processes and procedures, which were then fully implemented, to avoid improper influence or favor.”

Court said on her website that she “is now focused on her own entrepreneurial and social impact interests, as well as advising businesses on growth strategies and implementation plans.”

Court joined Guggenheim in October 2010 and built the European business, according to her LinkedIn page. A native of South Africa, she worked as a British solicitor and later moved to financial industry jobs at UBS and Credit Suisse before joining Guggenheim.

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After Court’s promotion to oversee institutional sales, the unit’s restructuring and job cuts saved Guggenheim $10 million a year, the firm said.

“No clients were lost as a result of this restructuring and her team continued to service and retain over 800 clients and 30 consultants,” according to Thursday’s statement. “Moreover, more than $20 billion of new assets were raised following Ms. Court’s appointment in April 2016, the most successful capital raising period for institutional distribution for the firm since its inception.”

Court now “manages and consults for a number of companies, including fast-growing platforms in the financial services, branding and communications, luxury and other sectors,” according to her website. “Alexandra supports a range of charities, including Living Beauty, which provides free support services to women living with cancer, and St. Monica Catholic Church.”

Bloomberg News